Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Italy 2013


On this particular day, we saw they were calling for rain.  I have to say, this trip proved once and for all how much I love the portability of the Internet: When we were last here, we never knew what kind of weather to expect all day, let alone for the entire week.  The only place to get a weather report was inside the newspapers in the hotel lobby.  Basically, the papers show a map of Italy with, like, a sun or a cloud on it.  That's it.  It's bad enough that the temperatures are meaningless (who uses the Celsius scale anyway?  Oh, right: the ENTIRE world except for the Americans).  Ron brought his iPad with him, so we actually had a sense of what to expect everyday which is soooo helpful when it comes to planning indoor vs. outdoor stuff.  So, they were calling for rain on this day.  Holy crap, did it RAIN.  But, not at first.



Of course, the day started with cappucini. Ron also had a cornetto.

View from the front door of Tazza d'Oro.

We decided to take advantage of the (initially) dry weather and stay outside.  Once the rain started, the plan was to walk to the Vatican Museums.  We didn't plan on returning here on this particular trip, but it was the only truly indoor thing we could think of.  First, we headed to the Trevi Fountain.

"Trevi" = tre vie, or three streets.  In this case, where three streets meet.

It's always crowded here--this is actually the most empty I've seen it.


There's our insurance policy--ritorneremo!

How great are all of these colors?


Walking down the streets, you can see into private courtyards.

The Italians think of everything, and Rome is the weirdest crossroads of religious piousness and sex.  It's hard to see, but the sign says, "The first slip in the world without straps--extremely comfortable and totally invisible.  It leaves no sign of anything under your clothes.  It's self-adhesive and sticks perfectly to the skin without irritation and removes with ease.  Stanga is washable and reusable."  So there you go.



This is a women's hair salon--at first, I thought I was looking into someone's living room because of the book-lined walls and crystal chandeliers, but then I realized that people get their hair cut here.

We basically crossed from one part of the city to the other.  The longest part of the walk was the trek around the Vatican walls.  We made it to St. Peter's Square, and then you have to go allllll the way around the city itself to the museum.  Huge crowds of people were walking away from the museum as we walked toward it--we hoped this meant it would be more on the empty side when we arrived.  The closer we came to the entrance, the more the rain picked up.

I loved this woman's head to toe navy ensemble.

We found out at this point that the Sistine Chapel had been closed the day before in preparation for Conclave.  Typically, a tour of these museums would end inside the Sistine.  We were a little disappointed, but we've been lucky enough to see it twice before.  We felt really bad for the people who came from all over the world (perhaps for the only time in their lives) who may have missed it for good.



This time, we weren't sure what to do about the audio tour.  At the Borghese, it cost €5 per person.  Here, they were two Euro more.  The Vatican Museums, however, are vast.  I was afraid we would wander aimlessly and miss a lot of good stuff.  So we bought one and shared it all the way through.  In this way, we caught a lot of the good stuff while sticking it to the money gods.

My favorite part was the Egyptian Rooms.  The Egyptians are cool because they really like cats, and they're true believers in the power of a good eyeliner.  And their jewelry is gorgeous.  It's the lifestyle trifecta.

How childish am I that this was my FAVORITE thing in the whole museum. We definitely missed this the last two times around.  I feel a little bad for her that she was dug up, stolen from her homeland, shoved in a glass case, and forced to endure the stares and camera lenses of strangers for years and years.  What a bizarre way to endure the afterlife.

I've walked under this ceiling three times, and I've taken a picture of it each time.  I can't get over it.  Every time an American church closes its doors or shuts down a school because of a "lack of funds," I always think of this ceiling.  Lack of funds?  I'm sorry--am I the only one with eyes in my head?

It was pouring by this point.

We could see the trees outside bending in the wind.

It felt like we were here for three or four hours, but it was probably more like two or almost three.  I was really thrilled to see Rafaello's School of Athens one more time, but things started to get really crowded and seriously annoying toward the end.  Later, I realized how they rerouted us to avoid the Sistine: We turned left where we should have turned right, and just like that it was as if the Sistine didn't exist.

We (I?) were so tired and exhausted by the time we finished.  Both of us were famished.  Ron knew of a Bourdain recommended pizza place in a nearby neighborhood, so we walked there. I wasn't pleased because we had to walk through a not-pretty (though not unsafe) neighborhood to get there, and then we arrived at this tiny hole in the wall place with no tables or chairs.  We had to stand to eat, and I would've paid money for a chair at this point.  The pizza was ok ... I think I was too tired to care.  The worst part was the trek back to the hotel. By this point, we had wandered to the furthest possible point in town, I seriously couldn't feel the bottoms of my feet (which ironically only makes them hurt more), I couldn't feel my fingers (so cold out), and we were already pretty wet from the rain.  The trek back around the Vatican walls felt twice as long as the first time.  Past St. Peter's Square we went; up to the bridge; over the river; through the familiar neighborhoods on the other side of the river; finally back to the hotel.

We walked back into the doors of the hotel, and the guy at the front desk gave me this look.  I'm thinking to myself, "What's his deal?"  He looked really surprised, and I couldn't tell if he wanted to ask me a question or make a joke or what.

Then, I saw myself in our room's mirror.

Ohhhhh. That explains it, I thought to myself.  It was hilarious.

(Remember that Seinfeld where Elaine gets stuck in the bagel shop when it fills with steam?  Remember what she looked like after?  Yeah.  There you go.)

I'm telling you, I've never looked this insane after waiting for a Septa train on the rainiest, windiest day.  It was bad.  Very, very, very bad.

(Now I'm thinking of Babu.)

Typically, we would've hung around for an hour or so and then headed back out ... but we didn't have it in us.  Ron downloaded a bunch of movies on his iPad the week before, so he pulled up Skyfall and we gave up on maintaining our normal schedule.

The rain stopped while we were watching the movie, and we headed back to Trastevere for dinner around 7 or 8.  The moment we made it to the river, it began to pour again.  It poured the whole freakin night.  Luckily, the rain held off the next day.

Shrine time:



Faraway

Close up--someone managed to hang rosaries under the canopy here.

Pretty shrine on an ugly corner across the street from the Vatican wall.


Only one day left.

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